PPI annual confab focuses on maritime disputes

A forum on the West Philippine Sea disputes will be among the highlights of this year’s 20th Annual Press Forum and Membership Meeting of the Philippine Press Institute, the country’s foremost association of newspapers.

Publishers and editors of PPI member-newspapers nationwide will convene in Manila for their two-day yearly gathering beginning on Wednesday, June 23, at the Century Park Hotel.

The forum, with the theme “Understanding the Disputes in the West Philippine Sea,” also marks PPI’s celebration of its 52nd anniversary.

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio, a much sough-after speaker on the Philippines’ maritime conflict with China, is the guest of honor at this year’s annual PPI event.

The forum will also highlight media’s role in enhancing public awareness and engagement around the highly contested West Philippine Sea, part of the South China Sea that lies within the country’s exclusive economic zone and is in the center of the Philippines’ territorial conflict with China.

Yet another highlight the forum is the 2015 Civic Journalism Community Press Awards, the only awards program of its kind in the country. It seeks to honor local print media organizations that have demonstrated editorial excellence and earnest pursuit of their role as catalysts for community development.

Categories for the awards include Best in Fisheries Reporting, Best in Culture, Arts and History Reporting, Best in Photojournalism, Best in Environmental Reporting, Best in Business and Economic Reporting, Best Editorial Page and Best Edited Community Newspaper. The Best in Election Reporting has been added as a special category for this year’s awards.

Several weekly and daily member publications have been named as finalists for the annual competition.

For the daily category, the finalists are The Freeman, Mindanao Times, Sun.Star Pampanga, Sun.Star Cebu, Sun.Star Baguio, Sun.Star Davao, and Cebu Daily News. For the weekly division, the finalists are Sunday Punch, Eastern Visayas Mail, BusinessWeek Mindanao, The Ilocos Times, The Bohol Chronicle, The Mindanao Cross, Baguio Chronicle, Davao Catholic Herald, Pahayagang Balikas, West Leyte Weekly Express, and Baguio Midland Courier.

This year’s event is supported by Nickel Asia Corporation as principal partner, and sponsored in part by National Commission on Culture and the Arts, PhilHealth, Bayer, Land Bank of the Philippines, Philippine Veterans Bank, Holcim Philippines, Oceana Philippines, Plan International (Philippines), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, Isuzu, Vera Files, Malaya Business Insight, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Journal Group, The Philippine Star, BusinessWorld, and The Standard.

Partnership programs with Holcim Philippines, Oceana Philippines and Plan International — Philippines will also be re-launched during the PPI forum. Vera Files will present its journalism fellowship program on Road Safety in the same event.

Incumbent, and three-term, PPI chairman-president Jesus Dureza will formally hand over the reins to his successor in the same PPI gathering. He is set to join the Duterte Administration as Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.

Incoming Press Secretary and Chief of Presidential Communications Operations Office Martin Andanar will meet with the PPI members in a special session called “The Malacañang Press Office and the Press”.

PPI’s member-publications rank among the most read and widely circulated newspapers in their respective regions. The institute’s principal mandate is the defense of press freedom and the promotion of ethical standards among Filipino journalists.

PPI was founded in 1964 but ceased operations during martial law. It was reactivated after the EDSA Revolution in 1986 and incorporated as a non-stock, non-profit organization in 1987.